Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad launches the award for robotics and Artificial Intelligence on February 10, 2015. Winners will be judged by an expert panel. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: A new $1 million (Dh3.67 million) international award for robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) was announced at the Government Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

It was revealed by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

The award will also reward Dh1 million for the local UAE version of the contest, said Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the Government Summit.

Winners will be judged by an expert panel specialised in the field and awarded in the next summit in 2016.

Contestants have to develop a robot-AI application that will serve a significant “useful” purpose and bring “added value” in the three award categories – education, health, and social services.

The contest – which will follow the same criteria and standards in both local and international versions – is open to individuals, universities, private establishments and government departments.

It is named ‘UAE Robots and Artificial Intelligence for Good’.

It follows the Drones for Good contest announced last summit launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The local winner of the previous award – the Wadi Drone – recently received Dh1 million, while the international $1 million prize went to the Collision-Resistant drone by Swiss company Flyability.

The idea behind the latest contest is also to inspire innovators to develop solutions for people.

“His Highness Shaikh Hamdan is personally following up the inventions to use them in the best possible way for the happiness of people and service to society,” Al Gergawi told a press conference on Tuesday.

More details will be revealed in the coming days and will also be made available on a dedicated award website within a week, he added.

Al Gergawi said today’s computer-based systems are ultimately based on the mathematical theory of algorithms that originated in the region in the eight century AD.

“This is a process, it is not something that started today. It is algorithm that directs the world today. We want to send a message that people in our region are also creators and innovators.”

He welcomed the idea that robotics and AI should be taught at UAE schools from an early age.

Al Gergawi added: “In the UAE, young Emiratis are skilled. The education system is changing with the changes in the world.”

Responding to questions on whether the local contest version will focus on a public government service delivered via a robot/AI application, the minister only said: “The role of the government is to be a motivator. Next year, that role will be much more important by providing incentives and supporting many of the projects.”

He also said that such contests and the recent focus on innovation by the UAE is “ongoing; it will keep moving forward in many years to come”.